News & Comment
TWICKENHAM ALIVE DIARY
If you would like to make a comment please email comment@TwickenhamAlive.com
29th May 2015
TWICKENHAM LIDO IN THE RICHMOND & TWICKENHAM TIMES
This morning we were amazed to see that Twickenham Alive’s idea for a new lido on Twickenham Riverside was on page 2 of the Richmond and Twickenham Times and it was also at the top of the page!
It is really encouraging to see that we have the support of “business” in Twickenham and sporting bodies. Also Trevor’s support is welcome as not only did he spend many years swimming at national and international level but he also worked in the swimming pool industry. Trevor is quoted as saying that he wants to encourage children to learn to swim and Twickenham Alive endorses this especially as the Thames runs through Twickenham.
This morning, as a result of the newspaper article, we received confirmation of funding and continued support for the Twickenham Lido. So, the financial support and business expertise is there for the lido and we have a letter from the Head of Property, supported at CEO level, from a bank confirming that they would be willing to take on the business and financial aspects of the remainder of the site. So often there have been plans put forward for Twickenham Riverside but funding has been a problem. This time the money has been offered and is there if it is wanted.
Twickenham Lido would bring back a much missed lido on Twickenham Riverside. As well as being a focal point for the community it would provide up to a hundred new jobs.
This would be a community facility, a place to meet, a centre for relaxation, a sport and leisure complex and somewhere to enjoy good food. We do hope that the Council will look again at the Twickenham Lido as it would be difficult to find something more economically advantageous than this proposal which would also provide leisure and healthy pursuits in the centre of Twickenham.
26 May 2015
A NEW LIDO FOR TWICKENHAM RIVERSIDE?
I had expected that we would have heard the competition results by now. Here are a few thoughts.
The idea of a lido on the newly acquired Twickenham Riverside site was a result of consultation with members of societies, interest groups and individuals, during February and March 2015, about what they would like to see on the new site. A swimming pool was mentioned time and time again. Initially we dismissed this idea until we remembered that the nationally acclaimed “courtyard style” Bristol Lido would fit neatly into the site with enough space to accommodate all the Council’s requirements.
The Bristol Lido is a huge success within the Clifton community and for miles around; it is also a tourist attraction promoted by Visit England. The lido is partly made financially viable by the well-reviewed café and restaurant overseen by the company’s chef, known to BBC food programme viewers. This renovated but modern lido is so successful that it is currently being replicated in Reading and would locate on the Twickenham Riverside site if invited by the Council. It would also provide around one hundred new jobs and promote the use of the Richmond Card, giving special discounts to local people; a similar scheme is in place in Reading. Local people are encouraged to drop in for a coffee and a chat even if they do not want to use the lido’s health spa facilities. The local community is important to the young lido company and the lido in Clifton is certainly a place to meet.
“Multi-use” of the lido is also an option so provision would be made for “community rooms” specified in the Council’s brief and likewise there would be toilets available. The use of the lido’s showers would also extend to sports groups who might locate in boat houses on the site.
The local consultation, carried out by Twickenham Alive in the short time available, emphasised bringing back the heritage of Twickenham Riverside, not only a lido but the “Charlie Shore” boat houses which were destroyed during the Second World War. There was also an emphasis on making the Twickenham Riverside a Destination and a Magnet which would help rejuvenate the town. We do hope that the Riverside in Twickenham can become a social hub and area of sport and leisure once again. We have to remember the history, the history of Twickenham, and put something on the site which will bring back what Twickenham Riverside has lost and is much missed.
Of course we have the town square at the front of the site in King Street leading down to the river where space and wide easy access steps allow for seating in front of the Embankment. There are also a minimum number of flats over shops which face the square, all required by the Council, as well as space for Council “front of house” services. However all this area is as green as possible with a green living wall dividing the square from existing shops and trees and roof gardens leading down to Twickenham Lido.
Some will say that this is all very well but who is going to pay for it. During the two months available to formulate the plan Twickenham Alive gained Expressions of Interest from two sets of investors who are confident they can make these ideas a reality. We really hope that finally Twickenham will be able to fulfil its potential, throughout all the seasons, and make Twickenham a town where people prefer to spend their time. It is a fantastic opportunity and it will be a shame if missed.
Some Memories of Twickenham Riverside:
9 May 2015
TWICKENHAM ALIVE’S IDEAS FOR TWICKENHAM RIVERSIDE
You will hear within a week or so that a plan has been accepted by the Council for Twickenham Riverside next to Diamond Jubileee Gardens.
Twickenham Alive has been working for two months with architects to develop a plan which would help rejuvenate the area and connect the town to the river; during this time we have consulted within the community. Our plan made the finals of the Council’s competition but has not been chosen.
Our vision, which is explained in an 80 page document with drawings, uses a concept which is extremely successful in Bristol where a small “courtyard” lido provides a social focus with leisure activities for the community and jobs for local people. A director of the Bristol based company is a celebrity chef and the company was willing to build and run the lido with restaurant, etc, using the modern architectural plans based on renovated lidos. The Bristol Lido is promoted by Visit Bristol and Visit England and likewise the Twickenham Lido would have been a magnet and a destination.
We had a relatively short time to produce the plans but during this time we spoke to various residents and groups from the local community and made sure we incorporated their ideas, bringing back a lido to Twickenham Riverside being a recurring theme.
We also covered requirements of the brief: a town square, housing, offices and shops as well as adding boat houses to the front of Diamond Jubilee Gardens for rowing boats, a Stand Up Paddleboarding club and the Eel Pie Island music museum. Showers and other facilities in the lido would have also been accessible to sports clubs and there was a continuation of multi-purpose use in other areas. For instance, the brief required the provision of community rooms which could have been accommodated in the lido complex.
Those consulted welcomed the idea which aimed to rejuvenate the area and although maybe a little ambitious we had funding for the lido and interest from a national bank to fund the rest of the project.
We do not know who was on the committee which made the decision and wished that we had the chance to discuss the plans and ideas with them. However, it is now another of the many plans for Twickenham which is consigned to the history of Twickenham Riverside but we are really proud of what we produced.
I do hope that the plan which is chosen will rejuvenate the area and provide activities for the community.
28 January 2015
THE ICE RINK AT STRAWBERRY HILL HOUSE
A short video of the ice rink can be seen here: http://www.RichmondRink.com
Once again the community ice rink was a great success. My abiding memory is walking into view of the rink and seeing it full of children. This year the rink attracted more schools than last year with many skating before Christmas and returning in the New Year. The heritage of skating in Twickenham is coming alive once again with children taking up the sport at an early age.
During the opening of the rink many former skaters came along to Strawberry Hill House to recount their memories of skating in East Twickenham:
22 August 2014
TWICKENHAM ALIVE MOVES THE ICE RINK TO STRAWBERRY HILL HOUSE
Following the very successful ice rink at Christmas and the New Year on the tennis courts at York House in Twickenham, Twickenham Alive decided to move the ice rink to the gardens of Horace Walpole’s Gothic house in Strawberry Hill where Walpole wrote the first Gothic novel, the Castle of Otranto in 1764. As its backdrop the rink will have the newly restored Strawberry Hill House, a pure white and turreted Grade 1 listed building. A more spectacular spot would be very difficult to find.
Skating next to Strawberry Hill House will be a truly magical experience. From dusk the House will be lit from within highlighting its unique collection of renaissance stained glass windows. The House will have special opening times with tours for skaters.
Strawberry Hill House has a lovely café which can host children’s parties and its lavishly refurbished rooms can be used for private parties and corporate events.
Strawberry Hill is easy to get to as it has its own train station just a few minutes’ walk from the House and buses stop close by. It is only a short walk from Twickenham town centre and very close to Teddington.
Twickenham Alive’s Richmond Rink was a great community success last year opening its doors to thousands of local residents and school children. The rink staff were said to be the friendliest and most helpful staff ever encountered and the ice was second to none. On days when other rinks closed due to rain Twickenham Alive’s rink was the only rink open in the London area – the ice was so well maintained.
We are sure that with such a fantastic venue the ice rink at Strawberry Hill House will be even more successful than last year’s rink in the York House gardens.
22 July 2014
STRAWBERRY HILL MUSIC & FUN DAY 2014
This year’s Strawberry Hill Music and Fun Day organised by Twickenham Alive has been tweeted as the biggest and best event in the nine years of this annual event. The RFU was the major sponsor and Tenant Finder and McGeachie Medd were music sponsors.
The music line up which opened with the all girl band Lips, was headlined by the Carnabys and was closed by the all time favourites Nark Drool and the Shudders. Other musicians in the line up included K, The Deputies and Shelle Luscombe.
This year there was particular emphasis on an area for children of all ages starting with activities for the under 5s, Shetland pony rides, water zorbing, table tennis and much more.
Following on from an excellent performance from the Carnabys there was a slight deviation from the music programme when a very nervous young man asked if he could propose to his girlfriend from the stage (Daniel Fogg and Joanne Mead). Luckily for Daniel, Joanne accepted his proposal and was lifted over the barrier to the stage area …..
The Director of Strawberry Hill House, Nicholas Smith and his staff were very pleased with the event which raises money for the upkeep of Strawberry Hill House.
Strawberry Hill House commented on the family atmosphere of the event: “it was great to see more families on site with all the impact that has on the appearance of the event and the enjoyable nature of the day”. The selection of the bands was also praised for their variety.
Twickenham Alive put a number of new measures in place to make the event enjoyable for the thousands of people who attended. There was more security staff who were said to be friendlier and pro-active and Continental Landscapes did an amazing job cleaning the site in record time.
26 June 2014
ICE RINK TICKETING SYSTEM PIONEERED BY TWICKENHAM ALIVE
The ticketing system used by Twickenham Alive at Richmond Rink has been launched in a nationwide promotion by the ticketing company. The system was used over a number of months during, and in the run up to, the ice rink operation and was tailored to the needs of the Twickenham Alive ice rink project. Richmond Rink, named after the permanent rink in East Twickenham which closed down in 1992, is being used in the ticketing company’s campaign as a case study. A video of Richmond Rink, commissioned by Twickenham Alive, is available on the ticketing website. The Richmond Rink video was produced by 16 year old Jordan McKellar who was recently the winner of the Twickenham Alive Film Festival Award for the Young Filmmaker of The Year.
26 June 2014
THE EEL PIE ISLAND SUP CLUB
Established 25 June 2014
Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) came to Twickenham in a big way in September 2011 when Active 360 partnered with Twickenham Alive to organise the first SUP races on this stretch of the Thames. The following year, the Blue Mile, a major SUP race was hosted at Twickenham. Since then the annual SUP charity race in Twickenham has become an established event. It has also been an aim of Twickenham Alive to establish a SUP club in Twickenham and this was finally achieved this year.
Eel Pie Island Club SUP (Epic SUP) operates from Twickenham Rowing Club. It is a fully constituted body and is affiliated to Canoe England. It is the fifth SUP club to be established in the country and the first SUP club affiliated to Canoe England on the River Thames. http://www.epicsup.org
25 June 2014
ANNIVERSARY OF THE REFERENDUM ON TWICKENHAM RIVERSIDE
On 25 June 2009 I received the final report on the Referendum from Electoral Reform Services:
Number of Eligible Voters: 4,090 Total Number of Votes Cast: 1,928 Turnout: 47.1% Number of votes found to be invalid: 18 Total Number of votes to be counted: 1,910
Question: Should public land on Twickenham Riverside be sold to a property developer? Number voting YES: 125 (6.5% of the valid vote) Number voting NO: 1,785 (93.5% of the valid vote)
20 June 2014
STRAWBERRY HILL MUSIC AND FUN DAY
Sunday 20th July, 12 noon until 7.30 pm
The Strawberry Hill Music and Fun Day has been the biggest annual event in the Borough for a number of years. Up until this year the Rugby Football Union (RFU) has been the sole sponsor but due to reorganisation and a change in sponsorship policy the RFU will not be directly involved in the event this time but are the major sponsor. Tennant Finder and McGeachieMedd, estate agents, are music sponsors.
This year Twickenham Alive, which has worked with the RFU for two years, is responsible for the whole event raising funds for the restoration and maintenance of Strawberry Hill House.
There will be the usual variety of food and craft stalls but there will be a new bar organised by Real Ales. Entertainment for younger visitors includes a fair ground, Shetland pony rides and water zorbing.
The line-up for the music stage starts with Lips, an all-girl band mentored by Brian May of Queen, followed by Shelle Luscombe and band, K (formerly Marner Brown), The Deputies, Alix Anthony, The Carnabys who are recently back from tours around the globe and the popular Nark Drool and The Shudders.
23 June 2014
TWICKENHAM ALIVE SPONSORS A SUCCESSFUL DRAGON BOAT DAY
The third year of the Twickenham Alive Dragon Boat Races took place on Saturday. After months of difficulties in arranging the annual event due to lack of funding Twickenham Alive took the decision to sponsor the races themselves resulting in a great day of racing on Twickenham Riverside.
The sun shone on the six teams which took part; Stuck in the Reeds (Reed Exhibitions based in Richmond), T.S.A.C (Teddington Sub Aqua Club), Team Treasury (Treasury Wines with offices in Regal House), London Scottish Rugby Club, 1st Twickenham Scouts and Richmond Rink.
Races lasted all afternoon with an exciting final with the young Twickenham Scouts (l min 31.44 sec) beating the Teddington Sub Aqua Club (1 min 31.75 sec).
Trevor Baylis presented the trophy but the coveted prize was a Star Wars mask donated by Andrew Ainsworth.
We would like to thank Mark Montgomery-Smith for providing the pontoons free of charge and SPEAR in Heath Road for assisting in bringing in teams. The Richmond Rink team which did not have a full team were complimented by the dragon boat organisers who won two of their races.
The day was a great success with many of the team members enjoying dragon boat racing for the first time.
John Soames: Our crew was made up of 11 Scouts aged 10-13, two mums, and the rest dads and one scout leader (Me). The draw meant that we only raced against adult crews all day. I doubt that we looked like favourites to win any of our races, let alone the overall competition. However, we competed as a team at all times, and believed in ourselves. We are pleased that by applying the values of teamwork and commitment they learn in scouting, the young people have seen they can achieve beyond what would seem possible. We won all five of our races, the last four by less than half a second. At many points in our races we were behind, including the final where the all-male TSAC crew were ahead with 200 metres to go, but we showed the courage and determination to keep going all the way to the end.
3 June 2014
TWICKENHAM ALIVE FILM FESTIVAL
This year the SRB Twickenham Alive Film Festival (Stone Rowe Brewer were the title sponsor) took place in St Mary’s University Student Union theatre.
The layout of the hall was very informal with plenty of comfortable sofas and access to the adjoining Student Union bar.
Alban Low (The River), Mark Buckley (Hampton Wick Festival) and Henry Rogers (Borneo Rivers) all received engraved Special Mention glass paperweights. Awards went to Jordan McKeller for India, Rhodri Williams for Not All London is Concrete and Harley Alexander for a drama set in Hong Kong called Incoming Call.
This is the second annual film festival organised by Twickenham Alive. Some of those whose films were screened were also at the festival last year and it seems that there is a growing circle of local filmmakers who enjoy the opportunity to take part in this type of event.
Three of the sponsors were able to attend the Screening and Awards Ceremony and presented prizes and gave interesting views of the film they had just seen. Guy Medd of McGeachie Medd estate agents presented the Original Cinematography Award to Rhodri Williams, Bruce Lyons of Crusader Travel gave the Young Filmmaker Award to Jordan McKeller for his film “India” and David Lane represented Stone Rowe Brewer presenting the International Drama Award which went to Harley Alexander whose film was set in Hong Kong.
Filmmakers who attended the event are keen to enter for the next Awards and we hope that many more will enter short films (up to 10 minutes) for 2015.
4 February 2014
The idea of bringing a temporary ice rink to Twickenham dates back two years when Twickenham Alive was formed. We are very pleased that despite numerous hurdles which have had to be overcome we have finally brought back skating to the area.
The original Richmond Rink which closed in 1992 left a large hole in the community which has been waiting to be filled. For many years people have spoken about a rink for the area but none of the plans have succeeded.
Richmond Rink in East Twickenham was a social hub and international skating venue. The names of those who skated there include members of the Royal Family and German ambassadors just before the Second World War. As well as being known to the famous many local people had their social life at the rink and many families of today stem from that connection.
Twickenham Alive’s Richmond Rink was a great community success bringing together many who had not seen one another for many years and introducing many of the very young into the sport.
Schools, scouts, brownies, sports clubs, youth groups and after school young visitors made their way to the temporary ice rink in York House gardens during the 42 days which it was in operation. Disabled groups in wheelchairs also enjoyed the ice.
Visitors were welcomed by a fantastic team at the rink, the older ones having been involved in skating all their lives including being at the rink in East Twickenham. The dedication of the staff was remarked upon by all; Twickenham Alive spent over a year bringing the team together and researching the history of those who skated at the original rink.
It is estimated that 10,000 people enjoyed the ice in York House Gardens. Those who skated remarked on the quality of the ice which was maintained by the dedicated staff including those who had maintained the ice at the East Twickenham rink.
The name “Richmond Rink” was more than a name; it was an integral part of the history of the Borough.
There were former instructors from Richmond Rink who taught in the 1960s who skated for the first time for many years and one of the senior staff who had been an ice hockey player for years but has walking difficulties because of a serious accident skated for the first time for twenty years and found skating easier than walking.
There are many personal stories of those who came to the rink and reunited with their past, some of which can be seen on a video made during the last skating session in January; there is also a booklet with people’s memories from the 50s and 60s etc. which is available to those who are interested. A more comprehensive book is being prepared and we hope that people will contribute their stories; it is surprising that wherever we go and talk about the rink, even far from the Borough, there is always someone who remembers the old ice rink.
17 September 2013
CHARLIE SHORE REGATTA 2013
Saturday 14th September saw the third year running of the revived Charlie Shore Children’s Regatta. The event first took place in the 1890s and died out after the Second World War.
In 2011 the Richmond Environmental Information Centre (REIC) teamed up with Twickenham Rowing Club to recreate the once popular regatta for boys and girls. The first Civic Pride grant awarded by the Council enabled the first new Charlie’s Regatta to take place.
Races were organised by Twickenham Rowing Club on behalf of the REIC and Twickenham Alive. This year saw a significant increase in the number of races from 12 last year to 28 this year – with the addition of the Octuple class of boat.
The course runs from the White Swan Pub, alongside Eel Pie Island to finish 350m upstream, outside the Rowing Club.
Racing started at 1:30pm and ran continuously until 6pm, with 52 local students taking part – aged between 11 and 16, from Orleans Park School, Radnor House School, St James School and other schools represented within the Club Juniors Squad.
This event continues to grow in popularity and is for nearly all the participants their first experience of “proper” side-by-side regatta racing. As such it is an important part of their development into skilled adult rowers and at the same time provides exciting entertainment for the spectators lining the Embankment.
Spectators on the Embankment and the rowing club on Eel Pie Island were entertained by dancers from Barbara Speake Performing Arts as girls from 13 to 16, dressed in blue and white sailor costumes gave a spectacular performance to the music of Anything Goes.
There was also fresh pizza available, a children’s fairground and Shetland ponies. Music at the Barmy Arms in the afternoon was sponsored by Tenant Finder. John and Fiachra from Marner Brown, Richard Clarke and Guests and the Deputies entertained an appreciative audience which also included members of the Carnabys.
The Richmond Environmental information Centre displayed the Heritage Lottery Project exhibition of Charlie Shore, the Man and his Regatta (part of the Memories of Twickenham Riverside project). A recently discovered photograph from Victorian times, now added to the REIC exhibition, showed a bandstand on the Embankment, evidence that music is part of the heritage of Twickenham Riverside.
Although there was not the traditional “Greasy Pole” across the Thames for the delight of those of an adventurous nature and no apple bobbing from the Thames, a great time was had by all.